One month after signing a minor-league contract with the Cubs to serve as a Triple-A player/coach Manny Ramirez is ready to make his Iowa Cubs debut.
Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com reports that Ramirez will be in Iowa’s lineup Thursday and the team released journeyman outfielder Casper Wells to make room for him on the roster.
Cubs president Theo Epstein has made it very clear all along that there’s no chance of the 42-year-old Ramirez being called up to the majors, but explained that “he’s a nice fit as a mentor for some of the young talented hitters we have in the organization.”
That now includes stud prospect Kris Bryant, who was promoted from Double-A to Triple-A last week, joining fellow top prospect Javier Baez in Iowa.
Ramirez played 30 games at Triple-A for the Rangers last season, hitting just .259 with three homers and a .698 OPS, and in 2012 he wasn’t any better at Triple-A for the A’s.
The Orioles singlehandedly kept the rumor mill churning this weekend. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the club is interested in making a play for free agent right-hander Lance Lynn, adding him to a list of potential candidates that also includes free agent righty Alex Cobb. The two are expected to command similar contracts in free agency, but Morosi notes that the Orioles may prefer Cobb based on his familiarity with the AL East.
Lynn, 30, is two years removed from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Despite missing the 2016 season, he bounced back with a respectable 11-8 record in 33 starts and complemented his efforts with a 3.43 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 over 186 1/3 innings for the 2017 Cardinals. He lost several days with a blister on his pitching hand in early September, but managed to avoid any major injuries and can reasonably be expected to shoulder another heavy workload in 2018.
Lynn may not be the Orioles’ first choice to beef up their starting rotation, but there’s no doubt that he’ll be in high demand as one of very few viable starters on the market this winter. The veteran righty rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Cardinals on Thursday and will likely be seeking a multi-year contract, one that Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch estimates around five years and $100+ million. If the Orioles are willing to bite that bullet, they’ll still need to compensate the Cardinals with their third pick in next year’s draft.